Apex continues to speak in generalities and platitudes about proposed project in Yates, Somerset

Posted 15 August 2018 at 8:03 am


I am responding to the letter from Mr. Paul Williamson of Apex Clean Energy posted on August 10, 2018, in the Orleans Hub.

First, I would like to correct Mr. Williamson’s statement regarding the recent submission of my letter. My letter, while certainly published in the Hub (August 2, 2018), was first read by myself to Mr. Williamson directly at the July 12, 2018, Yates Town Board meeting.

Additionally, this same letter was posted on July 18, 2018, to the NYS Department of Public Service website in relation to Matter 14-F-0485: “Application of Lighthouse  Wind LLC for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need Pursuant to Article 10 to Construct a 201MW Wind Energy Facility.”

By way of quick review, my letter challenged Mr. Williamson of Apex on his public statements at two town board meetings (Somerset and Yates) on July 11, 2018, and July 12, 2018:

  1. There is no impact on Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station
  2. Turbines are good for the environment
  3. Turbines are good for infrastructure
  4. Turbines are good for the economy
  5. Turbines are safe for birds
  6. There is no need for Yates to have laws governing wind turbines
  7. There is no need for a baseline health study
  8. There is no need for a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement (PILOT)

Additionally, my letter also cited relevant data which refutes Mr. Williamson’s unsupported statements above.

In his most recent missive in the Hub, Mr. Williamson attempts to turn the argument 180 degrees by stating that my statements to him support the construction of Lighthouse Wind. This is incredible hubris and a fatally flawed argument. If Mr. Williamson had been listening real time during the meeting when this was read to him or took the time to read the letter (which I personally gave to him on July 12, 2018), he would have realized that there were no statements of support for Lighthouse Wind. In fact, he would have realized the letter was a systematic and data driven argument against Lighthouse Wind and Apex Clean Energy.

Since he is overly focused on money, why is he ignoring the fact that the Towns, School Districts, County Industrial Development Agencies and County Legislatures have supported our rejection Payment In Lieu of Tax (ie: PILOT) agreements in this case. Why would the Towns of Yates and Somerset enter into a PILOT agreement that would net the Town of Yates $40,000 a year when full property taxation on this project may net Yates and Somerset a grand total of $10,000,000 annually? Of course, there was no response from Mr. Williamson.

I find it interesting – but not surprising – that Mr. Williamson’s letter to the Hub is a weakly worded argument that includes no objective evidence in support of his statements – and this from a Wind Energy Industry expert? But we’ve all come to expect nothing but pablum and platitudes from Apex Clean Energy and their representatives: Mr. Neil Habig, Mr. Paul Williamson, Ms. Cat Mosely, Mr. Taylor Quarles, Mr. Dan Fitzgerald and of course Apex President and CEO, Mr. Mark Goodwin.

As a Town Councilman listening to the dialogue at our July 12 Town Board meeting, I was struck by how much more the constituency knew, not only about Apex projects across the country but also about wind energy technology. What absolutely floored me was how little Apex representatives Mr. Williamson and Mr. Habig knew about these same subjects. For example, when pressed to articulate how the 100 leaseholders in Yates and Somerset compared to the overall population of both towns, they were left speechless – for in fact they did not know the population of either town (3,134-Yates, 2,662-Somerset).

Detailed and data-driven questions from constituents are not ever answered with detailed and data-driven responses from Apex representatives.  Apex representatives do not respond in kind, but speak only platitudes and the same kind of generality-laced arguments exhibited in Mr. Williamson’s letter to the Hub.

I find it interesting that Mr. Williamson posted an email July 31st to Supervisors Simon and Engert of Yates and Somerset, respectively, indicating that he was busy and therefore would not be attending our August Town Board meetings. This excuse rings shallow in my ears. I’m wondering what the real reason is that Mr. Williamson refuses to attend Town Board meetings and if this is a breach of Article 10 outreach requirements.

Meanwhile, as Mr. Williamson let our town supervisors know on July 31st that he has more important things to do than to be available for outreach at our Town Board meetings. Apex Clean Energy held a leaseholder’s meeting on Tuesday evening August 7th at The Gallagher Barn in Medina. So, Apex is in town on Tuesday, August 7th, but is too busy to stay in town to attend Town Board meetings on August 8th and 9th? This behavior on the part of Apex Clean Energy is part and parcel with the generalizations and clichés offered by representatives of this firm to the directed questions of the constituency. Again, a breach of Article 10 outreach requirements? I don’t know, but you can bet that we’ll be checking on it.

Mr. Williamson has as much as told us that he is only a cog in the Apex machine by stating at the July Yates Town Board meeting that his only job was to finish off the project technical details. He has no decision-making authority. In fact, none of the Apex representatives yet to set foot in Yates or Somerset Town Board meetings have been decision-makers. They are low-totem pole folks. Mr. Mark Goodwin, CEO of Apex, on the other hand is a decision-maker but has continued to ignore the constituencies of both towns.  I wonder if that is a breach of the Article 10 law?

What Apex Clean Energy and Mr. Williamson need to understand is that they are responsible for putting the Towns of Yates and Somerset on a war-footing; as a result, our towns will remain vigilant in our pursuit of home rule and our defeat of the Lighthouse Wind Project.

Governor Cuomo, the Lighthouse Wind Project and Apex’s war against the Towns of Yates and Somerset must stop…Now!!

The toxicity is destroying the Towns of Yates and Somerset.

Governor Cuomo, are you listening?

Thank you,

John Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates